Teaching my first yoga class: Breaking Barriers on and off the mat.

Jamie Bell Uncategorised

It has almost been a full year since I first embarked on my journey to become a yoga teacher. After months of training, practicing and immersive study with Pranalife Yoga’s Asia Nelson, the big day finally arrived for me to teach my very first class. March 27th at 7pm was a day that had been engrained in my mind for many months.

How it went

I’ll be honest I had mixed feelings about teaching my first class. This would open up a door to a  totally new stage in my life; one filled with peace, love, gratitude and abundance. I wanted this, I had worked hard for this! Yet I still had fears and doubts and my nerves were a wreck the week before.

I was prepared. I had studied this particular power flow for months. I had timed my songs perfectly to sync with the different sequences and also to serve as a reminder if I was going too fast or slow. I had practiced the cueing and done the flow for countless hours. I did a practice run with my dear friend and fellow yoga teacher on the Saturday to get her constructive feedback as well. I was ready!

The night before my first class I did another practice run with my husband and my daughter. Soon it was time for bed,  I prayed I would close my eyes and fall fast asleep so that I would be well rested the next day. Turns out I barely slept at all!

The day of, I went through the cueing out loud and did one last check to make sure the music was timed perfectly. I drank calming teas and practiced some grounding meditations. Around 6 pm I left the house to drive to the studio. In the car I listened to some relaxing music and tried to focus on the work that I was about to do.  After all this wasn’t about me, this was about my students.

I arrived at the studio early and met with the owner who helped me get the speaker set up with my laptop. I laid out some mats so that the students would know to set up facing me.

Students began filing in around 6:45. Some familiar faces arrived which made me feel a little   more at ease. There were also some students that I didn’t know. I introduced myself and had some friendly conversation. It felt surreal to be on the other side of the room. I was the teacher and not the student this time.

At 7pm I began the class. I was so nervous but I also felt a surprising sense of calm.  I knew I was in my element. Things were running perfectly and I was elevated. Just as the first song ended the speakers came to complete silence, the only sound in the room came from my own voice. Panic began to creep its way into my body. I let the class know that I was having some technical difficulties but we would continue on without music. My friend, the one I had run through the sequence with was there. She also happens to teach at the same studio.  I had emailed her my playlist the morning of by fluke, she quickly jumped into action. I kept teaching the class while she found my playlist on her device and soon music spilled into the room again. The only problem was now the music didn’t line up with the sequences as planned. I had two choices, to continue to focus my energy on the music or to enjoy this hour and give my full attention to guiding my students through a stellar class. I remembered how “letting go” opens up space to become more engaged and connected with our inner wisdom and truth. In that moment I chose to just let it all go and focus on being present regardless of what was happening. As soon as I consciously chose to release I felt grounded and back in the zone.

Once the class was in Savassana I sat quietly watching for a few minutes before doing some adjustments. I scanned the room and tried to fully soak in the moment. It was absolutely one of the most beautiful and gratifying moments of my life. Here were all these wonderful yogis resting peacefully after having just listened to my instructions for the last hour.

After class I received amazing feedback from the practitioners. One of the best compliments was from one of the students who had been practicing for years. She told me that she had never attended a class before where the teacher allowed the students to just do what feels best in their bodies…giving them space to things on their own time.She said she didn’t feel rushed and that it helped her to relax knowing that she didn’t have to keep up with the rest of the class.

I am so blessed to be doing this work. I am beyond honoured to help my students move in ways which feel natural and supportive in their bodies. I hope that by helping them move through physical and mental barriers on their mats they will start to break down barriers off their mat as well.

And so the page is no longer blank to this chapter of my life. I feel at peace in my world. I am home.

I am also very excited to share our upcoming Yoga Sanas program at Sanas Health Practice that was founded by Dr. Marisol Teijeiro. You will soon begin receiving monthly emails from myself and our team focusing on the anatomy and physiology of yoga postures in addition to their benefits from Ayurvedic, Traditional Chinese and conventional medicine perspectives. Yoga is truly one the most comprehensive health practices! I’m so excited to be sharing all this with you soon.

Namaste YogiSanas